Press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that five White House staffers have been fired because of their prior use of drugs, including marijuana.
Marijuana has become a sensitive problem for President Joe Biden’s administration because 15 states and Washington, DC allow for recreational usage, despite a federal ban.
Jen Psaki said in a statement to The Associated Press that the administration has tried not to automatically punish potential staffers for legal behaviour in their communities by developing a more compliant policy.
And said that while they would not get into specific cases, there were added factors at play in numerous instances for the small number of individuals who were terminated.
She added in a tweet that the bottom line was that of the hundreds of people hired, only five people who’d started working at the White House, were no longer employed as a result of the policy.
The Daily Beast website first announced the firings Thursday night, and the move amassed harsh criticism from people all along the political rainbow.
Hundreds of aides in the two-month-old Biden administration have cleared the suitability reviewed by career staffers managing security concerns, and the White House has said there could be various factors for dismissals, including hard drug use.
The marijuana policy has become less stringent under the Biden administration, allowing for up to 15 past uses in a year amongst White House staffers.
The broader federal government has also become slightly more tolerant, with the Office of Personnel Management issuing a memorandum that says a person should not be considered unfit merely because of past marijuana usage, and that the seriousness of the use and the nature of the position would also be factors in judging new hires.
Security and suitability reviews have been an issue for past administrations, and at least twenty five clearance rejections were upturned by President Donald Trump’s administration, where people faced possible disqualification because of foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial difficulties, drug use and criminal behaviour.
Despite Jen Psaki’s statement on the matter, it’s difficult to dismiss Vice President Kamala Harris’s comments about marijuana, but then perhaps this is what happens when an old man is in charge, although is he really in charge, or is he just a tool?
But I don’t suppose it was just marijuana why these people were fired, and nobody really worries about grass anymore, and you can buy pot anywhere, it’s just a reality now.